Old Grey Whistle Test, 1971
Few entertainers manage to ever earn the distinction of being known as one of the best entertainers to ever live, and it’s an even smaller number of entertainers that are currently in that league; but from the moment Sir Elton John appeared on the scene, it was clear that he was well on his way to achieving that title and setting the bar impossibly high. So high, in fact, that watching this 1971 performance of ‘Tiny Dancer’ on Britain’s The Old Grey Whistle Test makes you marvel at the fact that there aren’t many artists working in music today that could even hope to come close to Elton’s vocal and piano performance that night, if any at all!
‘Tiny Dancer’ was featured in the 2000 movie Almost Famous. It’s used in a scene where the band is mad at each other, but remembers why they love music when they all start singing this on their tour bus.
Armed with only his voice and his trusty piano, Elton has absolutely never been better – he never once misses a piano key or sings a note out of tune, doing the work of an entire backing band by playing the melody, harmony, and rhythm parts to ‘Tiny Dancer’ while making it all look as easy as breathing. He was only 24 years old when he performed ‘Tiny Dancer’ on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1971, but even then it was clear: the young man with the impossible voice and fingers that spun pure magic when they hit the piano keys was going places, and music would never be the same without him!